Sunrise: Natalie Barr says 'we're cancelling everything' after Aussie schools ditched Grease 1

Sunrise: Natalie Barr says ‘we’re cancelling everything’ after Aussie schools ditched Grease

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The hosts of Sunrise have reacted to news that two of Australia’s most prestigious high schools have ditched the musical Grease because it is ‘sexist and anti-feminist’.

Co-anchor Natalie Barr joked that ‘we’re cancelling everything that happened before last year’, after Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College and Scotch College voiced their concerns over the musical’s themes and content.

‘Some of the girls were said to have found Grease to be offensive, sexist and anti-feminist,’ newsreader Edwina Bartholomew said.

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Discussion: The hosts of Sunrise have reacted to news that two of Australia's most prestigious high schools have ditched the musical Grease because it is 'sexist and anti-feminist'. Pictured: Natalie Barr and David 'Kochie' Koch

Discussion: The hosts of Sunrise have reacted to news that two of Australia’s most prestigious high schools have ditched the musical Grease because it is ‘sexist and anti-feminist’. Pictured: Natalie Barr and David ‘Kochie’ Koch

‘Boys’ school Scotch College agreed a different musical would be more suitable,’ she added.

Edwina then joked: ‘They can’t put on Mary Poppins because she disciplines the children. Sound of Music, you know, does it does it portray a blended family accurately? I don’t know, it’s complicated.’

‘What are they deciding on?’ co-host David ‘Kochie’ Koch asked, to which Edwina jokingly replied: ‘I don’t know, The Book of Mormon?’

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‘That would be worse!’ Natalie said. ‘We’re cancelling everything that happened before last year, because it’s inappropriate, it’s out of date!’

Later in the show, Natalie held a heated debate on the issue with Justice Party leader Derryn Hinch and social commentator Jane Caro.

Decision: Natalie went on to add that the schools had two main problems; that Olivia Newton John's character Sandy 'changed' for Danny (John Travolta, deemed as sexist, and the controversial lyric 'Did she put up a fight?' and that could have been a reference to sexual assault or rape

Decision: Natalie went on to add that the schools had two main problems; that Olivia Newton John’s character Sandy ‘changed’ for Danny (John Travolta, deemed as sexist, and the controversial lyric ‘Did she put up a fight?’ and that could have been a reference to sexual assault or rape

Mr Hinch was enraged by the revelation, saying: ‘This is nuts. This is crazy. 

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‘On these grounds, you wouldn’t be able to put on a performance of The Taming of the Shrew, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – I could probably go through a dozen Shakespeare plays and say – “No, that’s offensive to somebody.”

‘It is rubbish. It is correctness gone nuts.’

Natalie went on to add that the schools had two main problems; that Olivia Newton- John’s character Sandy ‘changed’ for Danny (John Travolta), which was deemed as sexist, and the controversial lyric ‘Did she put up a fight?’ in Summer Nights, which could have been a reference to sexual assault or rape. 

Sharing her view, Ms Caro added: ‘I’m going to support the girls here. It’s not about someone putting it on and someone outside complaining. It’s about the girls who have been asked to perform in it.

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Rejected: High schoolers from Perth's Presbyterian Ladies' College (pictured) and Scotch College were due to star in the show next year but it will now no longer go ahead

Rejected: High schoolers from Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College (pictured) and Scotch College were due to star in the show next year but it will now no longer go ahead

‘If they it’s not the right thing for them, I think they’ve got every right to say, “let’s pick another play”.’

Natalie was quick to chime in: ‘Apparently it wasn’t all the girls – and how much of history are we going to cancel? Just all of it starting from now?’

High schoolers from Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College and Scotch College were due to star in the show next year but it will now no longer go ahead.

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Both schools said in a joint statement a different musical would be chosen after some students raised concerns the romantic comedy was ‘offensive’.   

‘A number of PLC students raised concerns whether the musical was appropriate in modern times,’ PLC Principal Cate Begbie and Acting Scotch College Headmaster Peter Burt said.

Complaints: In recent years the film has gained criticism with some calling it 'offensive'

Complaints: In recent years the film has gained criticism with some calling it ‘offensive’

‘Scotch College listened respectfully to the girls’ concerns and both schools agreed a different musical would be better suited for their joint production in 2022.’

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Outraged parents claimed the decision to cancel the production was based off a ‘small minority’ of students who believed Grease was ‘offensive, sexist and anti-feminist,’ according to The West.

It’s unclear what musical the two schools will now perform but other Perth schools have put on their own renditions of Grease in recent years without any issues.

The 1978 film Grease, which was based on a musical of the same name from 1971, centres around the love story of Sandy Olsson and Danny Zuko, two teenagers from opposite cliques played by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.

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The final scene sees a once ‘good girl’ Sandy undergo a drastic makeover as she debuts a skin-tight black jumpsuit while trying to win over Danny.

Danny, a typical leather jacket-clad bad boy had in turn ditched his usual attire and dressed as a jock in order to impress her.

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Criticism for the film gained traction in the wake of the recent #MeToo movement with some critics labelling it anti-feminist and misogynist while others claimed it was racist and homophobic.

The classic was recently aired in the UK, prompting some younger viewers to call for it to be banned from television altogether. 

Some viewers took issue with the line ‘did she put up a fight?’ in the song Summer Nights, suggesting it promoted rape or sexual assault. 

Another controversial line was ‘did you get very far?’ sung by Danny’s friends as they begged him to reveal what he and Sandy got up to over the summer holidays.

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Plot: Grease, which is based off a 1971 musical of the same name, centres around the romance between Sandy and Danny, two teens from different cliques

Plot: Grease, which is based off a 1971 musical of the same name, centres around the romance between Sandy and Danny, two teens from different cliques

One critic said resident ‘bad girl’ Rizzo was shamed for being sexually active at the same time Sandy’s character was being picked on for being a virgin.

Another Twitter user described the film as ‘rapey’, ‘slut-shaming’ and admitted it hadn’t aged well.

‘To those who think Grease is sexist, homophobic, racist, etc… Yes it is but if you can not understand that life was like that in the 70s then don’t ever watch a movie done before 2010,’ shared another. 

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Speaking about the backlash to the film, Newton-John said it was a ‘fun story’ and that there was ‘nothing deep in there about the #MeToo movement’.

‘I know there were some criticisms about me wanting to change to be like him but they forget that he wanted to change to be what I wanted. It’s a movie and it’s a fun story and I have never taken that too seriously,’ she said last year.

‘It’s a story from the 50s, where things were different.’ 

Not that deep: Olivia Newton-John looked back on her role as Sandy amid the criticism and said it was a 'fun story' that she didn't take too seriously

Not that deep: Olivia Newton-John looked back on her role as Sandy amid the criticism and said it was a ‘fun story’ that she didn’t take too seriously

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